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Report shows 1 in 4 Ky children living in poverty

HAZARD, Ky (WYMT) - New data released shows more than one in four Kentucky children live in poverty, but the numbers in many eastern Kentucky counties are higher.



The Kids Count Project monitors the well being for Kentucky's one million children.

Officials say the report shows we have a long way to go educationally.

"If we are gong to begin to change the trajectory of where education sits in Kentucky, we absolutely have to start paying attention to some of our most vulnerable students," said Executive Director for Kentucky Youth Advocates Terry Brooks.

Those vulnerable students include 55,000 students in alternative schools, more than 100,000 students with learning disabilities and the children in our state living in poverty.

Brooks says there is an undeniable relation between poverty and education.

Wolfe County recorded the highest child poverty rate in the state at almost 58 percent something the school system is well aware of.

"A lot of times they will come into kindergarten a little further behind than their peers no living in poverty, and we try to do a lot of remediation," said Wolfe County Schools Superintendent Kenny Bell.

Bell says poverty does not have to be a death sentence, but Brooks says that is usually the exception.

"We don't really focus on it. Our staff does an amazing job of focusing on poverty stricken kids and removing barriers," said Bell.

He says those barriers can be overcome.

But when it comes to fixing the problem, Brooks says there is no silver bullet that will automatically solve it.

One suggestion Brooks gives to get us going on the right track is passing a state earned income tax that will keep more money in the pockets of people who are working but on a low income.

Kentucky ranks 35th in the country in the well being of children, but for percentage of kids in poverty Kentucky ranks 48th.

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